Lightning is a killer – here's how to keep safe

2018-11-21 13:17
Lightning - Google Free Images

Lightning - Google Free Images

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Lightning is a very real danger in this country, and despite the general public knowing that it is dangerous, we don't really seem to grasp just how dangerous it is, ER24 said in a statement on Wednesday. 

The emergency services provider issued the statement after a man was killed during a lightning storm in Sasolburg on Monday afternoon.

"If you are near a person that has been struck by lightning, immediately activate the emergency services.

Always do CPR

"If the person is unconscious and not breathing, start CPR. It is essential that CPR is started promptly as the electrical shock may interfere with the electrical current of the heart, causing it to stop beating properly."

READ: CPR for the untrained bystander

ER24 said that severe electrical shocks, such as lightning strikes to the body, affect almost every organ and tissue and may cause extensive damage.

"Some of the after-effects of a lightning strike include cardiac and pulmonary arrest (no pulse and no breathing), usually temporary paralysis, temporary deafness and minor to severe burns."

If a person has been struck by lightning they need to receive medical attention at an appropriate medical facility, ER24 said. 

"With our beautiful late afternoon thunderstorms, it is almost a guarantee that they will be accompanied by beautiful lightning. Thunder and lightning usually start some time before it starts to rain, so don't wait until the rain starts before you take action and get to an area of safety."

Stay indoors

ER24 warned members of the public to make sure that they are indoors, with all doors and windows closed during lightning storms.

"Even though it is a beautiful show to watch, do not sit near the windows or doors, stay at least 2m away.

"Also, unplug all electronics, as lightning can strike power cables that are outside your home, and can travel into the electronic equipment via electricity cables. Not only is there a danger of you being shocked if you are near the equipment when the lightning strikes, it may also become an expensive operation having to replace lightning damaged property."

People who are unable to make it into a safe building should get into a vehicle, making sure the windows are shut, the statement read.

"In the event that you are out in an open field and are unable to get to another area of safety, lie down or crouch on the ground until the storm has passed.

ALSO READ: Lightning safety tips

"Also, if you are playing any form of sport outdoors, insist that your friends accompany you indoors. Do not stand under canopies, porches, picnic shelters or trees as they do not provide much protection from direct lightning strikes or an electrical 'splash' that may come from another object that has been hit. At all times, indoors or out, avoid water (lakes, dams, rivers, water faucets, showers, baths) as water is a really good conductor of electricity."

A general good rule of thumb is to immediately make your way to safety when you hear the thunder and see the lightning, the statement concluded. 

Read more on:    weather  |  accidents

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